CUMBERLAND — Falmouth sophomore Malaika Pasch pitched forward onto the muddy grass just beyond the finish line of the Class A South girls’ cross country championships Saturday at Twin Brook Recreation Area, then spent some time beneath a medical tent.

“I was light-headed and dehydrated,” Pasch said. “I just had to sit down for a little while and get some warm clothes on.”

By 13-hundredths of a second, Pasch managed to hold off the hard-charging Louise Holway of Kennebunk to win in 19 minutes, 18 seconds over 3.1 miles.

It was the closest finish of the six championship races Saturday at rain-soaked Twin Brook.

“Down towards the end we were neck and neck but I don’t think I was ever completely ahead of her,” said Holway, who was runner-up by 23 seconds to Pasch in the Western Maine Conference championships two weeks earlier.

“I was giving everything I had. I don’t think she was expecting to have such a close win.”

Pasch’s victory helped complete a Falmouth sweep of the Class A meet. Senior Jeremiah Sands won the boys’ race by six seconds over Westbrook senior Josh Lombardo in 16:39.

In the team competition, Falmouth beat defending state champion Bonny Eagle (75-86) in large part because of a 24-point gap between their fifth runners, with Antoinette Lambert of Falmouth placing 22nd.

Hannah Berzinis (16th), Mira Wyman (17th) and Ally Schimelman (19th) finished within eight seconds of each other.

“Our goal was to be near Bonny Eagle,” said Falmouth Coach Jorma Kurry. “They beat us pretty handily (in the Festival of Champions meet) at Belfast. We were missing some people, but still.”

The Massabesic girls were third at 138 followed by Biddeford (138), Kennebunk (155), Scarborough (155), Marshwood (168), Cheverus (201), Westbrook (203) and eight schools that failed to qualify for next Saturday’s state meet at Belfast.

The top half of teams as well as the top 30 individuals earned berths in Belfast.

The Falmouth boys – who won the Festival earlier this month – turned away all challenges Saturday. Conner Piers (fourth) and John Auer (fifth) joined Sands in the top five. Ben Wyman was 18th and Alex Kinley 28th to give Falmouth a 33-point victory over runner-up Deering, 56-89.

Two-time defending state champion Scarborough was third at 111 followed by Massabesic (126), Bonny Eagle (145), Windham (156), Marshwood (199), Westbrook (215), South Portland (243) and eight schools that failed to qualify for states.

“Falmouth doesn’t race Class A (schools) until regionals,” Sands said, “so we never know what to expect from anyone and they never know what to expect from us. It keeps it fun.”

Sands and Lombardo ran together for the first mile before Sands took command.

He had planned to “let other people do the work and just get a feel for the field, but going into the mile (mark), I felt really good,” he said. “I decided to take over from there and see how I could perform. I usually don’t lead in big meets but it felt good.”


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